I love a coffee; the aroma, the taste, the buzz … but I used to love the coffee shop experience even more. It’s the soft comfy chairs, the funky tunes nestled in the background, the hum of conversation and the glass cabinets filled with wicked little treats. What can I say, I’m a sucker for sweets.
I used to hang out in this little French café in Holland Park while I was living in London and it not only sold amazing coffee and an array of fine French pastries, but it had this ambience that encouraged thought, great conversations and was a place I could indulge in reading and creative writing.
I remember feeling like Ernest Hemingway, watching the world go by as is sipped on my flat white (although I’m pretty sure he would have downed a short black along with a few cigarettes).
That was BC (Before Children). I’ve foolishly attempted to enter this arena since having my boys and each time I’ve shunted away from the coffee haven battle scared, head down, coffee undrunk and more than a little embarrassed.
Not because of my children, but more because I was stupid enough to think that I could indulge in a purely selfish treat WITH children who are flat out sitting still for one whole minute.
Look, I’ve seen it work for some parents but I’ve come to the realisation that never again will I be existing in that realm of cool, casual, coffee drinkers for at least the next 15 years.
Sobering stuff, enough to make me sit down with a cup of coffee while I write this from the confines of my bedroom (and yes the instant coffee just doesn’t cut it!).
What’s an Ernest Hemingway, sweet tooth, coffee lover to do? Well, it’s not glamorous and it’s by no means a solution, but I’ll call it a stop gap for now……..The Mobile Café and it exists out of my car. Yes people, it does involve a Drive-Thru process (usually of the ‘M’ variety) and it does include a lot of compromises, but bear with me.
For me at the moment, the car is neither a special place nor a quiet space, but it does offer a few benefits:
- is the fact that the kids are belted in (haha no cheeky escapes),
- it contains an outlet for music (due to settle any frayed nerves experienced while getting the kids into their seat belts) and
- I’ve discovered that the layout of a car’s interior really does cater for your coffee and treats to be secretly hidden away from greedy eyes in the back, and the seats are pretty comfy too.
So, I know it’s no coffee shop ‘experience’ and I’m certainly not engaging in any deep thought or creative writing processes here, but it’s a practical option and a winning retreat for me.
The fact that my 2 year old son now asks for ‘coffee’ is a little disconcerting and my husband is beginning to ask questions about our spiralling fuel bill, but I figure I’ll bring him round….. ‘Can I shout you a coffee, honey? Jump in’.